When I copy large file (for example over 4GB) from external WD MyBook USB 3.0 HDD to internal SATA2 HDD all of Windows just freezes. Copying files of any size on internal HDD is fine.

Today I copied an 8GB file and after it started copying I refreshed a simple page in Firefox. It loaded only after the file was copied. So I waited about a minute to just see the page refresh. Unbelievable.

I know that all programs are swapped to HDD, so when copying all pipelines are working 100% and there is no room for accessing those program's files on HDD, but can be this behavior limited?

HP 8540w (full spec: Intel Core i5 520M, RAM 4GB DDR3, Quadro FX 880M 1GB, 320GB 7.2k, (PN WD927EA#ARL)), Windows 7 Prof 64bit, all updates. Antivir, firewall, drivers up to date. No spyware or anything like that.

UPDATE: Small clarification on "freeze". Windows are still alive, but refresh/google search is very slow (maybe because i have 15tabs open in FF - but nothing computationally intensive(no Flash/SL). Basically, if i pause/stop copying everything is fine.

UPDATE2: After looking on HDD activity in ResourceMonitor it seems that Firefox is querying it's internal database, so it may be a source. Also, file copy is listed as first, when FF is listed as second app in terms of HDD activity. But refreshing same page in IE9 is also slow, so...

UPDATE3: It is not FF related, happens basically with everything bigger than Notepad. IE9, Steam etc. When copying is finished all apps just show up at once. Maybe i am looking at this from wrong angle and hardware is really so busy it can't do anything more. Maybe someone knowing OS internals/drivers will provide an answer. Just i do not expect this behavior from PC in year 2011.

  • What kind of hard drive is inside the computer? SATA or IDE? Did it take 1 minute to copy 8GB file?
    – Piotr Kula
    Dec 18, 2011 at 19:59
  • Standard SATA 2 drive. It's HP 8540w notebook. Yeah, maybe 2mins to copy file (around 53MB/s), it is really fast on USB 3.0. Dec 18, 2011 at 20:01
  • With that kind of spec of machine, there should be NO problem like freezing up. yea it is fast.. but that machine should handle 10times that amount.. Either you have a driver mismatch or hardware fault.. cant really say.(because it seems to be running at full spec.. so its difficult to find the problem)
    – Piotr Kula
    Dec 18, 2011 at 20:08
  • I've also seen this behavior on my first Lenovo R60 when copying from external HDD enclosure (WD 80GB) on WinXP SP3, so maybe it is Win related? Because with all that amount of data it is not unlikely that the machine is just so busy it can't handle anything more. Dec 18, 2011 at 20:10
  • Using the USB3.0 drive?
    – Piotr Kula
    Dec 18, 2011 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


I am not sure, but i have seen similar behavior on my Windows Xp sp3 due to heavy use of Pagefile by Windows operating system...

Even if your computers's memory is more than 1GB empty or even your half of the memory is empty, windows operating system still try to use a lot of Pagefile, when the pagefile is accessed, it really slowsdown the pc.....

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